Originally Posted by TreePlanter
Hi, a little info first...
In highschool my toenail was crushed playing football and the front 3/4 of it came off. When it came back in I could tell it never came back quite right as I felt more pain than usual when I stubbed my toe and such. But it has never been much of a problem until recently.
Last year when I was treeplanting I had the unavoidable problem that I spend all day kicking the ground shut with this foot and this toe. I ended up getting a massive hangnail and the doctor had to remove the right side of my toenail. I kept it as clean as I could after that (well, clean for a tree planter), but this year I am about to go planting again and already I can feel the pain when I apply pressure to the right side of the toe again (with the newly grown toenail on the right side).
So my question is simply this I guess, what would be the best ways to prevent myself from getting another hangnail this summer?
It's not a hangnail you are getting; you are actually splitting the toenail into two portions from all the trauma. When a nail or a portion of nail is removed, the nail bed will experience scarring and will 'feel' more pain than normal because of it. Every time you use your foot to 'kick' and 'tamp' the dirt, you are applying pressure to an already sensitive area. You might try wearing steel toe shoes and wrapping the toe with gauze for a little more protection, but it will still be painful inthe long run.
Try using a tamper instead of your foot. My husband made one for me out of a steel rod and a piece of steel plate. Get a rod that you can put a nut onto and drill a hole the same size into the metal plate. Put one nut onto the rod, then the plate, then the last nut to hold it all in place. If you tighten it enough, you can use the edge to draw the dirt into the hole, then use the flat side to tamp the dirt. You could also use one of those tampers that they use to tamp gravel when laying pavers.